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Flyers' blue-liner Kimmo Timonen returns for Game 5 of Eastern final

PITTSBURGH - Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen returned for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against Pittsburgh on Sunday after sitting out the first four games with a blood clot in his left ankle.

The blood clot, which developed after Timonen was struck on the foot by a puck during Game 4 against Montreal in the second round, was initially expected to sideline the all-star defenceman for at least the Penguins series and possibly the rest of the playoffs.

After being re-examined by doctors Thursday, Timonen skated Friday and practised Saturday. He was in the Flyers' starting lineup Sunday.

Timonen was told his condition couldn't worsen by playing, but that he must cope with numbness in his toes and pain in the ankle.

Timonen also is a point man on the Flyers' power play and is the defenceman usually assigned to the opposing team's top line.

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